Designer: Harry Obst
Publisher: Out of the Box
2 Players, 10 – 15 minutes
Review by: Greg J. Schloesser
NOTE: This review was first published in Knucklebones
Ahhh … the sights, sounds, and smells of attending a game at the local ballpark are
imbedded in the memories of many Americans. The smell of popcorn, the taste of
a ‘dog covered with kraut and mustard, the sound of a bat cracking against the
ball: all are part and parcel of a trip to the park.
While these experiences cannot physically be recreated in a card game, Harry’s Grand
Slam Baseball from Out of the Box comes close to capturing the atmosphere. This
fast-paced card game recreates the excitement of baseball, with players swinging for
the seats and turning dramatic double-plays. Pinch-hitting, base stealing,
sacrifice bunting, relief pitching and more are all options for the team managers.
Yet, the rules are simple, and the game has no complicated team charts or statistics
to maintain. Indeed, a full game can be played in 10 – 15 fun-packed minutes.
Harry’s Grand Slam Baseball was originally created back in 1962 by German immigrant
Harry Obst. Out of the Box has reproduced the game with all of its original artwork
and components as part of their Heirloom series. Packed in a handsome tin, the
game also includes some updated features, including a folding scoreboard, baseball
diamond, and optional rules.
Armed with three cards apiece, players alternate playing cards. While on offense, a
player is attempting to play cards which result in base hits, or at least move
existing runners forward to score runs. The defensive player attempts to force outs
by playing cards such as “Fly Out”, “Ground Out”, “Strike Out” or even a “Double
Play”. Since players only possess three cards, options are sometimes limited, but
this also has the effect of forcing a fast-paced game. Players MUST play a card on
their turn, so sometimes a card must be played which results in an undesirable
effect. There is nothing sadder than being forced to play a “Strike Out” card while
your team is at bat!
Managers do have some additional options. Pinch Hitter and Relief Pitcher cards
allow the player to place a card sight-unseen in reserve, to be used when the
manager feels is appropriate. Sometimes this results in a timely hit, while at
other times the trusted player strikes out!
As in a real baseball game, nine innings are played, with players alternating the
roles of offense and defense each inning. Base runners are tracked on the diamond
by placing the cards on the appropriate bases, and moving them forward when
appropriate. Outs, innings and runs are tracked on the scoreboard.
While not filled with strategy, complex hitting and pitching charts, or overly
taxing decisions, Harry’s Grand Slam Baseball succeeds in simulating a fast-paced,
action-packed baseball game filled with exciting moments and unexpected thrills.
One can practically taste those ball park ‘dogs while playing, and players will
undoubtedly be overcome by the urge to belt out a chorus of “Take Me Out to the